Iran News Round Up
The Iran News Round Up ran from February 2009-September 2018. Visit the Iran File for the latest analysis.
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analysts Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton with contributors Ken Hawrey and Alice Naghshineh. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Key takeaway: Parliamentary runoff elections were held today. The results are expected to be announced over the weekend.
The elections occurred without any major demonstrations or security incidents, but an Interior Ministry official confirmed that a conflict among “candidates’ supporters” caused a shooting that wounded four people in Fars province. The runoff elections will determine 68 seats in the 290-member Parliament. The reformist-moderate bloc made major gains during the first round of elections in February to the detriment of the hardliners. No single faction won an outright majority, however, so the runoff elections will be crucial in determining Parliament’s final political makeup. Interior Ministry Spokesman Hossein Ali Amiri told reporters that election results will be announced on April 30, although he noted that this date could change.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which he called upon the UN to intervene in a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling permitting terrorist attack victims to collect $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets. Zarif accused the U.S. of “undermining the rule of law” and stated that Iran holds the U.S. “responsible for this outrageous robbery, disguised under a court order, and is determined to take every lawful measure to restore the stolen property and the interest accrued to it.”
- Matthew McInnis discusses prospects for the Persian Gulf’s regional powers to collectively manage regional security issues, including proposals for an OSCE-style collective security organization, in his latest blog, “Can Saudi Arabia really ‘share the neighborhood’ with Iran?”
- The Iranian Foreign Ministry identified key challenges for the nuclear deal, including Iran’s financial system and U.S. “sabotage,” in its first official report evaluating the deal’s implementation. The Critical Threats Project translated an excerpt from the report here.
Voters participate in runoff elections. Voting for the 68 seats available in the runoff elections occurred in 55 electoral districts across 21 provinces. Interior Ministry Spokesman Hossein Ali Amiri told reporters that election results will be announced on April 30, although he noted that this date could change. The head of the Interior Ministry’s Elections Committee, Mohammad Hossein Moghimi, had previously told reporters that the final results will be announced on April 31. (Tasnim News Agency) (Khabar Online)
Election feud shooting wounds four. Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaghari confirmed that a conflict among “candidates’ supporters” led to a shooting that wounded four people in the city of Mamasani, Fars province. The two candidates for Mamasani are reportedly an independent and a member of the joint reformist-moderate candidate list. Zolfaghari added that those responsible for the shooting have been identified and that security has been “restored” to the area. (ISNA) (Entekhab)
- Motahari: Rouhani must order Parliament to review disqualified parliamentarian’s credentials. Moderate conservative parliamentarian Ali Motahari called upon President Hassan Rouhani to give the Interior Ministry the order allowing Parliament to review the credentials of Minoo Khaleghi, a reformist parliamentarian disqualified by the Guardian Council after she had won a parliamentary seat in the February 26 parliamentary elections. Rouhani challenged the Guardian Council’s authority to disqualify candidates after elections take place when he defended Khaleghi on April 28, stating, “Based on the Constitution, any representative who is elected in a district after voting takes place must then have credentials reviewed in Parliament. No other institution can interfere in this.” (ICANA)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Zarif calls for Ban Ki-moon to intervene in U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the U.S. of “undermining the rule of law” in an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on April 28. Zarif called upon the UN to intervene in a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling permitting victims of terror attacks attributed to Iran to collect $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets. He asked UN “to induce the U.S. Government to adhere to its international obligations, put an end to the violation of the fundamental principle of state immunity, release all frozen Iranian assets in U.S. banks and cease and desist forthwith from any interference with Iranian commercial and financial transactions outside the United States, in compliance with its general international obligations and its obligations under the JCPOA.” Zarif also noted that Iran “holds the United States Government responsible for this outrageous robbery, disguised under a court order, and is determined to take every lawful measure to restore the stolen property and the interest accrued to it from the date it was blocked by the United States.” (Mehr News Agency) (E)
Friday prayer leaders accuse U.S. of stealing Iranian assets and breaking JCPOA promises.
- Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari strongly condemned the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing victims of terrorist attacks blamed on Iran to collect almost $2 billion in frozen assets. He asserted that the ruling represents “more evidence of the unreliability of America’s talk and its burglary as a criminal state.” He defined the ruling as a “clear violation of the JCPOA” and warned that the U.S. may seize Iran’s remaining assets if “the [Rouhani] administration does not take the issue seriously.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami also suggested that the U.S. has failed to fulfill its promises regarding the JCPOA and equated the ruling to “looting.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Esfahan Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Abolhassan Mahdavi reiterated recent remarks by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stating, “The Supreme Leader said that the agreement based on the JCPOA is only on paper and that the U.S. is fostering anti-Iranian sentiment. In any case, America is our enemy, whether we bring it upon ourselves or not.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda claimed that the U.S.’s “enmity” increased after the nuclear negotiations. He noted, “The day that the [Americans] said that sanctions have been lifted, our businesses saw that SWIFT was still closed to them… The nuclear deal has not given [us] results... It will not solve our problems.” (Tasnim News Agency)